Raiders Blues are on the cusp of winning the league title

The latest local football news
The latest local football news

Another excellent performance earned Berkhamsted Raiders Under-13 Blues a dominant 7-1 away victory at Hughenden Valley at the weekend and moved them to within just one win of being crowned the South Bucks Division Three champions.

Hughenden were the only team to stop Raiders scoring in a league game when they somehow hung on for a 0-0 draw earlier in the season.

But it took just five minutes of the return game for the Raiders Blues to hit the net when Paddy Read won the ball on the right flank and sped into the box to score with an angled drive.

On a magnificent playing surface, the Raiders took a bit of time to get their refined passing game into top gear and it took until the 30th minute to double their lead.

Oscar Lenane battled to win the ball 20 yards from goal before slipping it to the left for Will Smooker to stride on and beat the Hughenden goalkeeper.

An excellent move down the left wing seven minutes after half-time between Smooker and Reece Marchant saw the latter pull the ball back for Jude James to steer a shot into the corner to make it 3-0 to the Raiders Blues.

With the tireless running of Tom Foley driving Raiders on, they put the game to bed with a burst of three goals in six minutes.

Firstly, a quick throw-in the 52nd minute allowed the ball to be lobbed over the Hughenden backline for Smooker to poke the ball past the keeper.

Then, five minutes later, Liam French split the home side’s defence with a pass which Jack Heginbottom squared for James to smash home his second from close range.

It was 6-0 in the 58th minute when Ollie Pitblado’s persistence on the left created space for James to chip the ball forward where Heginbottom slid it under the advancing keeper.

Hughenden pulled one goal back but two minutes from the end Finnlee Ferguson’s dogged persistence on the right saw him pinch the ball off the Hughenden full-back and cut in to plant an angled shot beyond the keeper for a 7-1 victory.

The Raiders Blues manager Darren Heneghan said afterwards: “We were a bit laboured initially, but once we worked out how slick the surface was, we started playing excellent one-twos and triangles, and then it was really a question of how many we’d score.”

The team travel to face Chesham Athletic this Sunday morning knowing that a win will make them the league champions.